Have you heard of shingles? It is important to get all the facts so you can recognize the disease and seek treatment immediately.
What is Shingles?
Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is an extremely painful and dangerous viral condition that is caused by the spontaneous reactivation of the chickenpox virus that is usually dormant in the body.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Yes. Shingles is contagious (if you’ve had chickenpox) during the blister stage only.
How Many People Are Affected by Shingles?
A whopping 1 in 3 Americans
will be affected by shingles at some point in their lifetime and millions of people are diagnosed annually.
What are the Symptoms?
- A few fluid-filled red blisters that crust over once broken
- A rash of blisters that most commonly appears as a stripe around the torso
- Skin or eye sensitivity
- Pain, numbness, burning or tingling (pain is usually the first sign)
- General malaise
Can Shingles Cause Damage?
Shingles can cause permanent eye damage if it occurs near the eye and isn’t treated immediately. It can also cause problems with the nerves, tissue and skin of the affected area. The outcome is best when it is treated right away.
Who is Most Likely to Get Shingles?
Anyone who has had the chicken pox before (over 95% of Americans
) can catch shingles. It is most common in the elderly. The immunocompromised are more likely to contract it as well.
Can Shingles be Prevented?
The best method of prevention is the receive the shingles vaccine
. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 60 get vaccinated.
There you have it, all your Shingles questions answered. Thanks for visiting EMC!